Dark Nights and Cheap Streets

Gibbs didn't bother telling himself he didn't so this kind of thing. He did do this sort of thing and he wasn't in the habit of lying to himself. Just because he made sure no one else ever found out, didn't mean he would deny it to himself.

He didn't do it often. Nothing like every trip out of town -- too easy to set up a pattern. And the need for this... well, it wasn't so strong that he had to grab every opportunity. He could ignore it, sublimate it, push it aside for a long time before he sought out a dingy, out of the way bar or club and headed inside.

He might be lying to himself a little, he told himself wryly, as he felt that tension deep in his gut as he stepped inside the bar. Maybe he needed this more often -- but he couldn't risk it, wouldn't allow himself to risk everything for something he could ignore. So he shoved the regret aside and made his way past the tables to the bar.

It didn't take long to get set up with a beer and survey the crowd again. He'd seen it all when he'd stepped inside and he knew there were ones who'd sized him up as well. Half a dozen party boys in the corner with eyes for no one but each other, probably with a pocketful or five of illegal substances. As long as they made trouble for no one but themselves, Gibbs was willing to let it go.

There were men at the pool tables, intent on more than one kind of game, and the bar flies intent on drinking themselves or each other beautiful again. Not any different from any other bar Gibbs had ever walked into, the only difference here was the lone woman, working security by the office door.

Gay bars didn't vary much from town to town or state to state -- even across the world there was the same flavor of need and interest and intent, all tinged by whatever local politics seeped in. Gibbs had been in places where women sat carefully between each man to make it appear that the men weren't making contact with each other, carrying on coded conversations that would have made the best spies impressed. He'd been in places where the party spilled out onto the streets in loud shouts and -- he winced mentally -- gay abandon. He'd seen all sorts in between.

This small town bar leaned closer towards the latter than the first, loose enough that Gibbs could relax but circumspect enough that no one would be expecting to spread names and faces with public gossip.

He'd finished half of his first beer before he'd narrowed his options down to three. A gentleman not much younger than himself, sitting at a table with friends. He'd caught Gibbs' eye once but had made no move; Gibbs was happy to make it himself if it came down to it. Another, younger man, tugged at him -- charming smile and friendly eyes that made Gibbs want to turn and leave. Leave, drive home, and.... But that way was impossible. Despite himself, his gaze kept straying to the younger man.

He was considering a third option when the object of his interest took someone's hand and disappeared towards the bathrooms. Gibbs made a face -- he might be easy, but he had some standards. Not desperate enough for quickies in dirty bathrooms.

"So, you buy me a beer?"

Gibbs turned and looked at the young man who'd walked up beside him. Gibbs had seen him playing pool, leather jacket hanging high above his hips, tight, worn-thin jeans showing off his ass. Gibbs had appreciated the view, as had most of the men in the bar.

He shook his head. "You're a hustler."

The young man didn't blink, just grinned slow. "True, but only at pool. And cards. When it comes to beer and sex, I believe in playing fair."

Gibbs found himself staring for a moment, caught in the wide, gorgeous grin. The young man's eyes twinkled like he knew a secret -- the similarity to what he'd come here to escape gripped him, dragged the word 'no' as far as his lips.

He held back, though, as he realised what else his instincts were telling him. There was a gun in the young man's waistband, and something -- probably a knife -- tucked in his boot. The way he stood, the way he walked, spoke of the slight weight and an awareness of it. There were scars on the man's face, on his hands, and when Gibbs looked at him again there were deep, burning scars clear back to the depths of his eyes.

As soon as he saw it, the young man's smile vanished. He began to step backwards, charm gone.

"One beer," Gibbs said, easily. When the other man's wariness didn't fade, Gibbs reached out his hand. "I'm Jethro."

The guy blinked and for a second looked all of twelve years old. "Jethro?" He shook Gibbs' hand with a slight laugh. His grip was strong, but free of the macho bullshit of let's see who is stronger. "I didn't know they named people that anymore."

"I'm old," Gibbs said with a smirk.

"Nah, old is Creepy Gary," his companion said, pointing towards the end of the bar. A man sat there, no more than Gibbs' own age, but worn down and drunk. He was hitting on anyone who walked by, loud and crude and ignored by everyone.

"Creepy Gary?" Gibbs didn't need an explanation to know how he'd got the name, but he thought it might get the young man talking.

With a dead-pan expression, the other man said, "Because his name is Frank." Gibbs rolled his eyes. His companion grinned, then, and said, "I'm Dean."

"Nice to meet you, Dean." Gibbs kept himself relaxed, ordering a second beer and one for Dean, wanting to ease the young man's guard -- not down, but he wasn't looking for trouble and he figured Dean wasn't either. Whatever it was about him -- criminal, cop, psycho -- he didn't make Gibbs' instincts scream at him to shoot first and ask questions later.

And hell, he was gorgeous.

"So what brings you to Chesterfield?" Dean asked. "Running away from the big city to have a quick homosexual encounter?"

"Doesn't have to be quick," Gibbs replied, and Dean blinked, then smiled just as come-hither and flirtatious as he'd ever seen.

"Do you want to sit around and drink beer and shoot the shit, or should I just mention that if you have a motel room, I've got the condoms?"

Gibbs swallowed. Then, casually, he said, "I'd like to finish my beer." He gave Dean a once-over. "I've got a room at the Red Roost."

Dean smiled and leaned back, taking a drink of his own beer. "Sounds perfect."

They finished their beer with a minimum of small talk -- Gibbs asked him how the pool was going and Dean tried to be vague about how much money he'd won. Gibbs figured that meant he was a good hustler and he realised that Dean probably wasn't a local. Local boys wouldn't keep winning, not without getting into a lot of parking lot fights.

Glancing again at Dean's scars, Gibbs knew it was entirely possible, but somehow he thought not. His thoughts were wrenched into an entirely different direction when Dean drained the last of his beer and stepped away from the bar.

"You change your mind yet?" he asked, sounding smug.

"Gee, Dean, you sound like you've down this before." Gibbs laid some bills on the bar, nodding at the bartender to keep it. He stepped up beside Dean, brushing against him briefly. The young man didn't back away, didn't push against him -- solid, secure, and radiating a heat that made Gibbs wish they were already at the motel and naked.

"Just don't ask me to call you 'dad'," Dean said, wrinkling his nose.

Gibbs blinked. "Excuse me?"

Dean grinned. "Why do you think I call him Creepy Gary?"

Shaking his head, Gibbs said, "I think I'm fine with 'Jethro'."

"I don't know if I can call out 'Jethro' in the throes of passion," Dean said, seriously, leading Gibbs out of the bar.

Gibs stepped up beside him, quickly, taking a hold of Dean's arm and said, low in his ear, "Then you can call me 'sir.'"

He smiled to see Dean's reaction -- frozen, eyes wide, mouth slightly open, and his erection was oh so obvious when Gibbs looked down.

"You have a car?" Gibbs asked.

"I... um. Yes," Dean said, clearly trying hard to regain his composure.

"Follow me to the motel." Gibbs walked away, towards his car. He would have made Dean drive them both, distracting him with words and teasing touches, but this wasn't the safest place to leave a car all night. He did glance over his shoulder, once, not to see if Dean was obeying -- he'd jumped fast enough that Gibbs knew he would.

He watched Dean get into an old, black Impala -- must have been older than Dean, himself. He thought about Tony and his love for classic cars, wondering what he would have to say about this one. DiNozzo's taste ran more to sports cars and luxury classics, rather than the boxy muscle cars.

As Dean started his car the engine rumbled to life, and Gibbs hurried to get into his own vehicle. For a second he hesitated. He knew what he was doing. Knew what sort of night he was getting himself into.

He thought about all the things in the world he couldn't have, and all the things he could. He watched as Dean's car began to move, and he quickly turned the key to his own.

One night wouldn't change a thing -- it never had. It probably never would. But, as always, deep down he wished it would.

the end